New chief takes over scandal-hit Shanxi

New chief takes over scandal-hit Shanxi
Left to right: Former Party chief of Shanxi, Yuan Chunqing; newly appointed Party chief of Shanxi province, Wang Rulin.

Wang Rulin, the top Party official of Jilin province, has been appointed to the equivalent position in scandal-hit Shanxi province, according to a decision announced at a meeting of officials in Shanxi on Monday.

The move is an effort to clean up rampant corruption in Shanxi by giving the leadership to the head of the country's least-corrupt province.

Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau of the Communist Party of China Central Committee, said during a speech at the meeting that the decision followed thorough deliberations by the Party's Central Committee.

"Shanxi is facing a severe challenge in its anti-corruption campaign and in building a clean government," he said, voicing the Central Committee's great concern over the leadership and cadre team in the province and expressing hopes for a smooth transition during the recent personnel changes in the Shanxi Provincial Committee of the CPC.

Wang, born in April 1953, was Party chief of Jilin province before his new appointment as Party chief of Shanxi.

At the age of 16, he worked as an "educated youth" in a small village in Jilin. He has worked his way up in the province from worker at a county forestry bureau to the provincial top official in 2012.

His predecessor in Shanxi, Yuan Chunqing, has been appointed to deputy director of the Central Agricultural Work Leading Team, a top decision-making body for agriculture-related work.

Also on Monday, the Supreme People's Procuratorate said that Ren Yunfeng, a director-level official from Shanxi, is under investigation on suspicion of taking bribes.

Ren was director of the bureau responsible for government offices administration under the Shanxi provincial government.

Xue Lan, a professor at Tsinghua University's School of Public Policy and Management, said the decision shows the CPC Central Committee's determination to battle corruption and its resolution to have clean cadre teams.

Of the 34 provincial-level administrative districts in China, Jilin remains the only one without a corruption case at the level of deputy governor and above.

Meanwhile, Shanxi has been linked with continual corruption cases since the beginning of this year.

Seven officials of deputy position at provincial level are under investigation, with the most recent cases announced on Friday by China's anti-graft authority.

Ren Runhou, vice-governor of Shanxi , and Bai Yun, a member of the Standing Committee of the CPC Shanxi Provincial Committee, are under investigation for suspected "serious law and discipline violations", which usually means corruption.

Xue told China Daily that abundant coal resources and related big investment projects in Shanxi breed serious corruption.

Shifting franchise rights of coal mines from State-owned to private companies in recent years has provided an opportunity for government officials to solicit bribes.

The appointment of Wang is expected to help clean up the political environment in Shanxi, Xue said, adding that Wang, as an official who has served in Jilin for 45 years, has had no stake in Shanxi's hierarchy during his career, making it easier to play his role in the anti-corruption campaign.

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